The Association of the Teachers of Yoruba Language and Culture in Nigeria has condemned the alleged reduction of Nigerian languages such as Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba, from core to elective subjects in WAEC and the National Examination Council. The development had led to the reduction of candidates seeking admission to study these national languages in higher institutions. The recent retrenchment of Yoruba teachers in some state secondary schools has not been helpful. According to UNESCO, ‘approximately 600 languages have disappeared in the last century and they continue to disappear at a rate of one language every two weeks. Up to 90% of the world’s languages are likely to disappear before the end of this century if current trends are allowed to continue’. Saving our indigenous languages is a matter of urgency and is crucial to ensuring the protection of our cultural identity as well as safeguarding our linguistic heritage. Who is to blame? Government, traditional custodians or all of us? Looks like everyone who can speak an indigenous language has a part to play in this quagmire. Phew!
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